LAS VEGAS -- Utilizing all avenues to acquire new talent, the Marlins selected right-hander Riley Ferrell from the Astros in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft on Thursday.The Rule 5 Draft is the last order of business at the Winter Meetings, which wrapped up with Miami not
LAS VEGAS -- Utilizing all avenues to acquire new talent, the Marlins selected right-hander Riley Ferrell from the Astros in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft on Thursday.
The Rule 5 Draft is the last order of business at the Winter Meetings, which wrapped up with Miami not completing any significant trades. The Marlins also didn't lose any players off their Triple-A roster in the MLB phase, which means lefty reliever McKenzie Mills will remain with New Orleans. In the Triple-A phase, Miami lost Double-A outfielder Braxton Lee, who was taken by the Mets.
In Ferrell, the Marlins envision a candidate who will get an immediate chance to pitch in high-leverage innings in the big leagues. The Astros selected the right-hander in the third round of the 2015 Draft out of Texas Christian University.
"He is somebody we had followed out of the Draft," Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill said. "He had a history of pitching in high-leverage innings in college and has had success since he's come into professional ball. As we looked at options for us in the Rule 5 Draft, we think we will have opportunity in bullpen."
The cost to take players in the MLB phase is $100,000.
Ferrell must spend the season on Miami's big league roster, unless he is on the disabled list.
MLB Pipeline ranked the 25-year-old reliever as the Astros' No. 17 prospect. He split time in 2018 at the Double-A and Triple-A levels, combining for a 4-3 record with a 4.53 ERA in 43 games. In 51 2/3 innings, Ferrell struck out 67 and walked 34. His fastball has been in the 95-99 mph range, and he mixes in a power slider.
Ferrell enjoyed better success at Double-A, where he posted a 1.90 ERA in 21 appearances. At Triple-A, his ERA jumped to 6.75.
A year ago, Miami made two selections in the MLB phase, taking right-hander Elieser Hernandez from the Astros and right-hander Brett Graves from the A's. Both spent the entire season with the Marlins.
On Monday, the Marlins outrighted Graves to Triple-A, along with infielder Yadiel Rivera, to reduce the club's 40-man roster to 38.
The Marlins actually have another player on their 40-man roster who is under Rule 5 restrictions: hard-throwing right-hander Julian Fernandez, who was claimed off waivers recently from the Giants. He missed all of 2018 due to Tommy John surgery and is not expected to be available until at least June. Because Fernandez was a Rule 5 Draft selection a year ago for San Francisco, he still is subjected to Rule 5 guidelines.
Mills, acquired from the Phillies in August for Justin Bour, was left unprotected on the 40-man roster. He is listed as the club's No. 30 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline.
• History of the Rule 5 Draft
Lee, acquired by Miami in June 2017 from Tampa Bay in the Adeiny Hechavarria deal, was on the Marlins' Opening Day roster in '18. He ranked as Miami's No. 29 prospect.
The emergence of outfield prospect Brian Miller made Lee expendable.
The Marlins have traditionally been active in the Rule 5 Draft, with their most famous selection coming at the 2005 Winter Meetings. That year, they selected Dan Uggla from the D-backs' system, and he became a three-time All-Star second baseman.
Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.